But few insects are as effective at spreading illness as the Asian tiger mosquito. The pest transmits more than 20 diseases, according to the Cornell Chronicle, including West Nile fever, dengue fever, yellow fever and two types of encephalitis.
Additionally, the mosquitoes transmit the chikungunya virus, the Chronicle reports. Though the disease is rarely fatal, chikungunya causes debilitating symptoms, including severe joint pain, fever, achiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash and fatigue.
There's no vaccine to prevent chikungunya and no treatment; people usually recover in a few weeks. But while they're infected with the virus, they can be bitten again by another mosquito, which could then spread the disease to someone else, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since its introduction to the United States in the 1980s, the Asian tiger mosquito has spread to 26 states, primarily in the eastern United States, the CDC reports. The bug is also established in South and Central America, southern Europe and several Pacific islands.